Jukebooks: The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp
Sutter Keely, the irrepressible party boy who narrates author Tim Tharp’s The Spectacular Now, is one of YA lit’s most poignant characters. He’s good-hearted and funny- as long as he has his flask of whiskey near at hand. Sutter’s happy with his life in the moment. He prefers not to dwell on the past or the future, a strategy that threatens to implode as Sutter nears the end of high school. A movie of The Spectacular Now was released early in August 2013.
Sutter is a great fan of Dean Martin, a singer/comedian/variety show host from the mid-twentieth century. Martin had a reputation as a drinker; he once had a vanity license plate “DRUNKY.” He was the epitome of Rat Pack cool, with a cocktail glass in one hand and a cigarette in the other. As Sutter says, “The Rat Pack consisted of these ultra-suave playboy singers from back in the days before hippie bands changed everything - Dean, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. These guys knew how to party. They tore Las Vegas to pieces.” (p. 115-116)
So here on Jukebooks we’re featuring the Dean Martin song that Sutter calls his theme song, Ain’t That a Kick in the Head, music by Jimmy Van Heusen and lyrics by Sammy Cahn.
The song most associated with Dean Martin is Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime, written in 1947 by by Sam Coslow, Irving Taylor and Ken Lane. Here is a playful rendition of that song, to get a taste of Dino’s legendary charisma.